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Indian River Lagoon protection projects
A mangrove along the Indian River Lagoon.
The St. Johns River Water Management District's Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative includes numerous projects to improve water quality and habitat in the Indian River Lagoon while expanding science-based studies needed to enhance biological management of this special waterway. Projects include:
- Wheeler Stormwater Park — Completed in spring 2016, this innovative park improves the quality of water discharged to the North Prong of the St. Sebastian River (an Indian River Lagoon tributary). Manmade lakes and created marshes treat storm water from a 21,000-acre watershed, capturing pollutants before they can reach the waterway. This is a cooperative project with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Transportation and Brevard County.
- The Canal 1/Sawgrass Lake Water Management Area Project — Completed in fall 2015, this project diverts canal flows from the 100-square-mile Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District away from Turkey Creek and the lagoon, returning up to 43 percent of the drainage district's discharges to the Upper St. Johns River Basin. As a result, fewer nutrients, suspended solids and freshwater reach the lagoon, improving the estuary's water quality.
- Algal bloom investigation — A program in which the district and outside experts are enhancing the scientific understanding of the lagoon system through monitoring, data collection, field and lab analysis and model development. The investigation focuses on the necessary science, construction, operations, regulations and communication needed to address the lagoon's imbalances. The Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative, which includes the algal bloom investigation, is creating field-based strategies for seagrass growth (such as the current seagrass transplant project), enhancing the lagoon's diverse ecosystems, and developing management actions to reduce nutrient loadings, control algal bloom formations and improve the health of the lagoon.
- Sensors measuring lagoon quality — Several water quality monitors installed throughout the northern and central lagoon measure parameters including pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrogen, temperature and link to the district's existing telemetry system.
- Dragline ditch restoration — Continued restoration of dragline ditched wetlands, to restore more natural hydrologic conditions, resulting in enhanced and expanded marsh habitat and greater production of fishes, crabs, shrimp, and the plants on which they depend, as well as expanded foraging area for wading and shore birds. Dragline ditches were cut to interrupt the life cycle of saltmarsh mosquitoes.
- Mosquito impoundment reconnection — Continued reconnection of mosquito impoundments, allowing vast numbers of fishes, shrimps and crabs to regain access to historic wetland nurseries and feeding grounds. Birds and native wetland vegetation also benefit greatly from the establishment of a more natural hydrologic condition.
Updated on 8-01-2016